Dealing with Privilege

Summer Devotional 2020 | Week 9

Getting Started

To be a member in Greek life means: you were most likely born in America, have a high school diploma, attend a 4-year university, and have the means to pay for it via employment, scholarships/loans, or having parents who can support you. Greeks are, by any standard, “privileged.”

The word “privileged” can cause people to recoil, but truly, if you’re reading this devotional, you are privileged. You’ve got technology at the tip of your fingers that can get you information and social interaction at the tap of a button (or face recognition). And you can pursue your faith openly without government-sanctioned persecution.

The Philippians were also privileged people. They were in a very prosperous Roman colony. Money abounded. Business did well. People had access to education. And in this passage, Paul-- who once had great status and was on the fast track up the “corporate ladder,” so to speak-- is emphasizing the worthlessness of worldly privilege. As you read this, consider: What privileges am I willing to give up for the sake of Christ and for the sake of others without the same privileges?

Philippians 3:7-14

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are the things Paul lists as being better than worldly gains? (v. 7-11)

  2. What goal is Paul trying to achieve? If you’re not sure, see v. 11. (v. 12-14)

  3. What does it mean when Paul calls all of his accomplishments and privileges "garbage'? Why do you think Paul enjoyed his relationship with Christ, including suffering for him, so much more?

  4. What does Paul mean by “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”?

  5. Jesus, coming from Heavenly privilege, suffered on behalf of us lacking in Heavenly privilege. How can you use your privilege to “participate with him in his sufferings, becoming like him”?

Closing Reflection

Often, the voices of college graduates are given more weight than those without a degree. And if you are Greek, you have access to networks that many people in our world lack. Greeks have a legacy of business and political leadership that lends itself to far-reaching networks. So what do we do with this privilege? 

In Micah 6:8, the prophet Micah says this:

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

What can you do today to use your privilege to “act justly and love mercy? How will you use your required volunteer hours-- doing the easiest thing or doing something that will work toward real justice? 

God calls us to action as believers, but He doesn’t make us do it alone. He gives us His own presence and power in the person of the Holy Spirit. We are suffering alongside Him. We are laying our lives down as He did for us. The call is to love God and love others. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). 

May you and I love at the expense of ourselves, as Christ loved us. 

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